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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  May 22, 2011 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT

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filmmakers. they were the first american journalist in 1981 permitted to enter afghanistan behind soviet lines. they worked for cbs news. they produced a documentary for pbs. they appeared on abc's night line. they have produced the documentaries, afghanistan: between three worlds. and the woman in exile returns. .. returns, the semolia story. they are part of afghanistan's untold story, and i'm happy tonight to be celebrating together with all of you, the release of crossing zero, the war at the turning point of the american empire, the companion volume to the last book, also again, published by city lights, and it focuses on the afghanistan-pakistan strategy and the importance of the borders separating pakistan from afghanistan which is referred to as the zero line.
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they d >> the u.s. involvement is explored in fine detail, and they show us that things are really far more complex than they appear to be. crossing zero is a clear, well-researched easy to read analyst of the spiraling u.s. war in afghanistan and pakistan and essential reading for anyone wanting a deeper understanding of the situation issue but also really the larger historic context. please, join us in giving them a very warm welcome. [applause] >> thank you, peter. we want to thank all the cast and crew at city lights for all the wonderful work you've done for us over the years and for publishing the first book and crossing zero, and for all the support they've given us. they are a wonderful publisher, and i want to thank them tonight. [applause] when we began our involvement
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with afghanistan some 30 years ago, we started by doing a documentary on the nuclear arms race, a hotly debated issue at the time. the arms race and the economy a delicate balance, i asked the question of a famous economist. at what point does the mill tarrization of the economy undermind the interest of defense in the united states rather than protecting it? it would send the united states hurdling towards that point, but the invasion of afghanistan a few months later, made such talk he represent call, and to many it still is. we watched america's involvement in afghanistan closely as the narrative took shape and twisted and transformed like a train wreck in slow motion. we observed killing russians and holding them in afghanistan for pay back of the u.s. humiliation in vietnam. in the 1990s, we saw the
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stirring rhetoric and the commitment to the people of afghanistan of the 1980s e evaporate as the country descended into civil war and the rise of the taliban. when the u.s. invaded pakistan in 2001, we shook our heads at the iran yi as the -- irony as the u.s. followed the same way to envelope its enemy. with the obama's administration to cross over the duran line and expand war into pakistan, we knew the process we speculated about 30 years ago was completed. there were two main reasons for naming the new book crossing discoer row. one is it's the name given to the duran line separating afghanistan from pakistan by the military intelligence community and also a line that the u.s. fought on both sides of since the 1980s. the other is given its history, the zero line is an inescapable metaphor for the turning point in which the united states finds
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itself at at the beginning of the second decade in the 21st century, figging a war that's not defined yet cannot afford to lose. from the outset, the problems were three-fold. first, the inadequate understanding of the people, its needs, and how to provide for them. prior to the soviet invasion of 1979, afghanistan had been one the poorest countries on earth with a moderate form of islam. 30 years of war and political instability reduced afghanistan to a stone age with the population displaced and occupied by an army of religious extremists. in 2001, the solutions appeared simple and straightforward. a few hundred million dollars shrewdly managed and districted at a grass roots level could have provided recovery. instead, the diversion of resources and attention to war in iraq and we imposition of a
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war lord culture allowed information to drift towards disaster. after 10 years and hups of billion -- hundreds of billions of dollars spent, the obama administration confronts much of afghanistan and pakistan, the spread of religious violence throughout the region and the enterprise that is global in scope. washington's second major issue regarding afghanistan is pakistan. carved from british india in 1947 with two wings, west pakistan and east pakistan. they suffered from identity crisis from inception. the location brought the new country under the folds of the u.s. cold war umbrella. instead of being at an advantage, it had the effect of freezing afghanistan and pakistan into a special military relationship that discouraged the nation's democracy and development while at the same time encouraging a radical movement that threatens to tear both afghanistan and pakistan
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apart. the current afghanistan-pakistan crisis is traced back to the 19th empleg ri when the brettish led army led them to the pass and forced the petition of afghanistan into the north and south. the drawing of the duran line in 1893 was intended to guarantee british control east of the hindu kush and proved to be a political jail and source of constant conflict until the creation of pakistan in 1947. pakistan's humiliating defeat in the 1971 war against east pakistan continues to hant pan stack's predominantly panjabis establishment. the conflict transformed into a war with india verved them and created the independent nation of bangladesh. following the soviet war in the
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1980s, pakistan used the taliban to settle old scores with india and control afghanistan, but pakistan's military continues to fear a direct ethnic con confrontation with the pashtun tribes on the western border. this fear makes pakistan's relationship with the taliban volatile and perhaps unresolvable in any way beneficial to the west. pakistan continues to support elements of the taliban and carry forward the agenda while make making attacks on those who do not serve it's interest. the commitment is not what it seems. while mostly reserving, it's best trained military units and expensive high-tech weapons, given to it by the united states, for a potential war with india, pakistan's military sets the fully trained and poorly equip against the pakistani taliban, but as the taliban recruits and multiplies setting
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up control among the youth, a u 234 and dangerous youth has taken hold. washington's third major issue regarding afpac is washington itself. the politics of both afghanistan and pakistan over the last 60 years are so entwined that the obama's administration is more about washington than either country. burdened by a bureaucratic structure created for a bipolar cold war, washington's inability to adjust to a political complex, multiethnic religiously divided south asia huddled the efforts in the start. by marrying its war on terror to the political agenda of the old northern alliance of the 1990s, it set itself against the political agenda of the traditional rulers of afghanistan, the pashtuns, setting the stage for the perpetwall conflict it endures.
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from a purely military perspective, claims that the u.s. is repeating vietnam are valid. what america did in world war ii in korea did in vote nawm, and what they did in vietnam, they are doing in afghanistan. from the view of an afghan elder who has been humiliated or relatives struck accidently or with intent, the united states is repeating rush's vote yom, and that's a distinction that needs to be understood. the soviet defeat in afghanistan in the collapse of the soviet union filled the islamic right with fer veer. while the united states could walk away from vietnam, bruceed, but with the world status unaffected, the same is not said for pakistan and afghanistan and where the united states has long term interests in oil and gas pipelines, russia, iran, and india, and preventing the region
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for once again becoming a base for the terrorism. what does the united states do with this contradiction where the use of force no longer guarantees security, but underminds the security it was meant to ensure? the significance of this moment in time is not lost in the rest of the world as evidence by protesters filling the streets by the middle east and the united states demanding democracy and representation. u.s. military thinkers are more than aware of the crossover in global consciousness as well as their own growing in the face of it. in the speech on may 14, 2010, president jimmy carter's strategist spoke of a new reality occurring worldwide in which for the first time in human history, mankind has become politically awakened and is stirring. the people of afghanistan and pakistan are no less awakened to this new reality and desires for
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real change than the people of the middle east, yet despite years of war, intimidation, and oppression, their leadership options continue to be limited to a choice of either corrupt military regimes or radical islamists. ultimately, the course of the events in the induh kush are not changed by military force. to change, the issues that fester at the root of afghan and pakistani dissatisfaction have to be redressed. in the province and afghan regions bordering pakistan, how can this be accomplished? fixing the western engagement in 20 # 11 after 10 years of war requires more than thinking outside the box, but throwing the box away. elizabeth will present suggestions we believe could provide a basis for a new and much needed fresh approach for the 21st century. [applause]
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>> as paul has just given you some background in the original, in what was the original afpak problem, i'll go deeper into the problems that lead to a deeper resolution. the original issue began when the tribal lands and authority in the 19th century imposed the artificial line known as the duran line in 1893. it's amazing in 2011, the duran line continues to remain at the center of america's strategic dilemma in afghanistan as taliban attacks u.s. and nato forces and retreat back over the line in pakistan, but rarely, if ever, is the issue of its legitimacy ever in the western narrative. whether the legitimacy should be a subject, an international form
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must be addressed. the 19th century leader states in his biography written in 1900 he never considered any pashtun area as permanently seated to the british and the line zones of responsibility and was not an international boundary. there is convincing evidence that he did not actually write the sentence in which he renapsed claims to the territory and other british officials con tepidded the line was never intended to be an international boundary, but only to define influence. we agree with members of the afghan diaspora that the duran line issue should be brought to the world court in order to decide once and for all whether the 99-year lease that the british applied to their control of hong kong which expired in 1997 applies to the border separating afghanistan and pakistan also.
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a major benefit of removing the duran line from the framework of the brutal insurgency, placing it into the context where it originated would break it from the strangle hold of 19th century thinking that set this process in motion and begin what really is the long road towards establishing legitimacy framed by an international system based on laws, representative government, and local sovereignty. it would also give the indigenous ethnicities the opportunity to articulate their long held grievances publicly for the first time and remove the issue from the narrow sectarian framework in which it is now trapped. next is the issue of the women's rights. it is a persistent concern among those involved in the western effort in afghanistan, but arguments that the west should not expect modern standards of behavior from the afghan population ignores afghanistan's
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history. when instituting afghanistan's first constitution in 1923, the king granted afghanistan' women the right to vehicle vote. they were participating in the country's legislature by the 18950s, civil service and other professions. article 25 of the 1964 constitution states the people of afghanistan without any discrimination or preferences have equal rights before the law. article 26 states liberty is the natural right of the human being and liberty and dignity of the human being are inalienable. the constitution of 1976 clarified the issue of women's rights in article 27 by stating that all the people of afghanistan both men and women without discrimination have equal rights and obligations under the law. by 1977, women made up 15% of afghan's legislature.
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then even as late as 1987 enacted under the communist party rule, they went further stating, "the citizens of the republic of afghanistan both men and women have equal rights and duties before the law irrespective of their national, racial, linguistic, tribal, educational, social status, religious creed, political conviction, occupation, wealth, and residence." today's problem with afghan women's rights derives directly from the influence of saudi arabia and the sunni muslims who wish to impose a questionable interpretation of law throughout central asia. the issue of women's rights is a political football used by the bush administration to help justify the invasion in 2001, and then 10 years later, it's used as a justification for remaining in afghanistan and for legitimizing a military
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solution, but the truth is in the meantime, women's rights are being bargained away. the time has come from progressive muslims to demand an accounting of their arch brethren and insist this issue be accepted by the highest authorities and move on. this removes the pressure from afghanistan's fragile democracy, place the burden where it amongs on the sponsors of radicalism. if any stands in the way of resolving the problem, it is pakistan. of all the regional interests up vested in creating peace and prosperity for afghanistan, only pakistan deserves the right to actively undermind any and all initiatives that don't serve its own interests. there are think tanks connected to pakistan's friendly intelligent services that recommend favoring pakistanization of the war, but governing afghanistan through
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acceptable dictators or reconciling unrepenting terrorists is a bankrupt solution. president obama knows the problem centers around pakistan. following the failed time square bombing attempt on may 1, 2010, national security adviser, james jones informed pakistan's president that if that suv blew up in times square, "no one could stop the response and consequences." jones was referring to an american plan to bomb 150 designated identified terrorist camps inside pakistan, but we really feel that bombing pakistan in this matter would not resolve this issue, and, in fact, only further destabilize south asia and detonate the hem fearic war. a better solution is for washington to straighten out in some actual real terms its priorities regarding pakistan before it's too late.
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reconciling war lords and taliban appear from a distance to be a workable solution, but reintegrating the leaders of brutal, ultraconservative crime syndicates into the afghan government creates problems that make the current difficulties of corruption experience with the government of karzai seem mild in comparison. the question remains, how do the afghanistan and pakistani people gain sovereignty when the western narrative leaves them out without a voice? breaking the chain of institutional thinking is essential to solving the af-pak problem, but most suggestions to think outside the box are not intended to create new thinking as much to maintain the same old thinking with a different approach. what is needed now is a different way of thinking and a new group to do it. the main reason why solutions have been proposed won't be able
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to establish a legitimate government whether involving federalizing the afghan government, petitioning the country into ethnic enclaves, continuing to support a centrally controlled bureaucratic structure from kabul, or reconciling with hated war lords is because of one simple reason. these decisions are being made without the sovereign participation of the afghan people. as our friend puts it, "can reconciliation work? the answer is no. it will never work in the long term. first, the country has not healed from 35 years of war. the ethnic divide has widened and has complicated the path to nationalism, and there is not a unifying figure head to calm the country down." he believes that the only solution that will work before nato withdraws troops is a traditional afghan tribal
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counsel or jerga free of outside interference that brought the warlords back to power in 2002. the irony remains that today's crisis occurred not because the 2002jerga failed, but because the will of that jerga was overridden by the political desires of the bush administration who preferred to bring back the warlords. he foresees if this all-afghan jerga is assembled by afghans for afghans without outside interfeerps, they can return afghan to a civil state by creating a civil government acceptable to all afghans regardless of their tribal or ethnic affiliations, but there's a very important condition before this can happen. the pears or groups who participates at this point in the government of afghanistan will not be allowed representation. only individual afghans, the
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taliban, the afghan government, drug barrens, or the warlords can want attend. the likes of karzai even may join the jerga, but only as ordinary afghan citizens, and we understand that will be very difficult to actually make happen, but we feel it's important to state that's actually what is required. to accomplish this, there is an em pertive that the issue -- imperative, that the issue of islam be removed off center stage where the current acrimony has been and beliefs that link humanity together in a common struggle for a better life for all. parallels have been drawn by numerous experts on the complexity of the tribal dynamic with the ongoing conflict. various tactics employed by peacekeepers in northern ireland were tried to afghanistan, but
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the two country's circumstances are not dissimilar. aside from sharing a long colonial heritage with britain, ireland and afghanistan share tribal law and codes of moral conduct that long precede the christian and islamic era. ireland's pre-christian law provided a sophisticated set of rules for every aspect of irish society. from the quality of the poets to the ordering of discipline to the worthiness of kings, and prior to to the hostile european invasions of afghanistan, pashtun was one for a hospitable afghanistan that was known to accommodate both jews and christians considering them to be religions of the book. the first british explorers wrote of their warm reception in afghanistan's cities. we feel a new and shocking departure from the existing narrative needed to change the tone of the afghan crisis and
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reorient people's thinking, and we feel what better way for afghans to remove themselves from the existing extremist narrative than reconnecting to a common ancient shared past with the irish people. it occurred to us this could be achieved by organizing a planning meeting proceeding the formal tribal jerga at an ancient 5500-year-old site north of dublin known as the mansion on the river. we felt the ancient lure could provide a place to begin a new narrative outside the framework of today's violence religious struggles, but most of all, it would stimulate something in the imagination of all the apartments, a shared connection to the past and evolution of human consciousness lost in the bitter squabbling and forgotten to both the east and the west.
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not only does afghanistan's future lie in connecting with its ancient tribal past, but america's future lies in a similar retriballization process which we feel educator and philosopher and scholar, mar shall, summarized, "the culture aggression of white america against african and native americans is not based on skin color or beliefs of racial superiorities. whatever ideological clothing may be used to rationalize it, but on the white man's awareness that the african and native american as people with deep roots in a resinating echo chamber of the discontinued interrelated tribal world are socially superior to the fragmented alienated and disassociated man of western civil civilization.
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such a recognition that stabs at the heart inevitably generates violence and genocide." it has been the sad fate of african and native americans to be a tribal people in a fragmented culture born ahead of rather than behind their time." we also feel that there is no doubt that his explanation of the after african and native american's dilemma applies equally to the tribal people of ireland and afghanistan. over the last century, the united states has built a reputation as a leader in science, technology, justice, and individual human rights, and with the beginning of world war ii, the united states embark the on a massive military expansion, and following the events of 9/11, expanded that military into a region known as the graveyard of empires, but the
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point at which this military expansion begins to undermind what it was created to protect in the first place is a question that rarely has been asked. this is not a question that should threaten the united states or its military establishment, but it is a question that after fighting the longest war in american history needs to be asked. america's national security is no longer an issue of the politics of left versus right or conservative versus liberal. it is not even an issue of good versus evil. it is simply the point at which where war and the endless preparation for it do more harm than good, where they destroy what they claim to protect, and where they are neither just nor unjust, but add up to nothing more than zero. in the final analysis, it must be understood that the zero line in the crisis surrounding it is
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not the creation of the people of afghanistan or pakistan, but the product of nearly 400 years of british and american foreign policy decisions. it is given us a mirror with which to understand the consequences of our own action and to see what we have become as a nation and a democracy. our future will depend on whether we can accept the challenges that it portends. thank you. [applause] >> thank you so much. since the soviet invasion -- i don't know if this is on, but since the soviet invasion you mentioned in your talk, it had a tremendous impact on afghanistan, and i wanted to ask you about some reports i've heard from some european press
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that actually before the soviets up vaded afghanistan, there were intelligence operations by both pakistan, the isi, possibly the saudis, and the cia where they were paying people, islamic militants to kill afghani policemen and soldiers. this is before the soviets invaded, and there had been a number of attacks, and at certain points the afghanis asked for help because they thought their government was being overthrown. in other words, this narrative is that essentially the soviet union was kind of trapped into invading. it was goaded to get them caught in their vietnam and weaken the soviets. it's a struggle between empires, the soviet and the american empire, and the people who suffered were the afghani people. >> there's no doubt that what
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you're talking about is absolutely true. in fact, our first book, "invisible history" goes into great detail baht -- about the true nature the united states was involved preceding the soviet union. the original activity united states was involved in in 1953 and were being paid and used to invade and to try to destabilize the regime at the time so you're looking at a very, very -- that's why it's invisible history. it's an unknown history to most americans how the soviets, were, in fact, drawn into afghanistan. president carter's national security adviser went public with this in 1998 in an interview where he stated very clearly that the intention of a black project started six months
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preceding the soviet invasion, they acknowledge six months before it, that the intention was to draw the soviets into described as the afghan trap and hold them there and destroy them there basically. that was the intent. >> robert gates stated in his book that came out before 9/11 that the united states actually was funding the freedom fighters prior to soviet invasion which, of course, the official narrative was, of course, the american action in the embargo, a number of different economic things that were zone following the soviet invasion was a direct result of their naked aggression of the soviet invasion. that was the narrative that the soviets were invading them to go to the gulf, but if you look in the background, it was set up years prior to that, and the soviets were forced basically with a decision they had to make about protecting their southern border, and a lot had to do with the support of the salt two treaty and the fact the u.s. congress was not treating the
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treaty. it was ratified by carter and by breschnev prior to that. they looked and said the military came forward and voted four or five times not to invade, and finally the military stood up and said look, you get nowhere with the united states. they are aggressive. they are trying to up vade us from the southern border. we have to do something, and so that was the beginning of that. >> i heard you this morning, and it's so complete picture you present, and i really thank you for that. i was wondering if greg moritonson and if you know about his work and what you think about that and les the east india tea company which it doesn't exist today, i think it's still around in some other form. if you could comment on that. >> well, greg has certainly brought a lot of attention to afghanistan and the suffering of
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the afghani and pakistani people, but i think what i would say is i wish -- i'm not saying it as an author, but i wish everybody would read invisible history and crossing zero, the af-pak war for the simple reason what we deal with in our work is a way to try to understand how every school that is built in pakistan and afghanistan gets destroyed over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. this is really where we, you know, view the work -- at some level i'd say he'd like to be put out of business and not have to keep rebilling those schools, and i think that's what our work is about is showing people how it actually happened so we can actually accomplish that. did you want to add something? >> no, that's fine. >> i actually have two questions i'd like to ask you, and i'd
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like to start off with as far as afghanistan is concerned, what is the big interest about afghanistan? i mean, it was attacked by great brit tap, attacked by the russians. we attacked it. did we attack it over the terrorists? we didn't attack it over 9/11 because 15 of the hijackers were from saudi arabia. if it's over women's rights, i can't imagine us starting a war with afghanistan over women's rights, and if we supported the talibans, why didn't we embrace it when we attacked it and embrace pakistan? the second question is how in the world did you all get so interested in this early and stay with it? [laughter] >> well, we had nothing else to do. [laughter] you can start with the second one. what's the interest in at this point in time, we'd have to say
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that the overall interest is the building of pipelines across afghanistan. that's stray teemingic territory. it used to be trade roots. one member of the afghan royal family described it as the belly button of south central asia, okay? everything goes through there. it's like the ball joint. with india and china backing the predominant manufacturing economies in the world, they'll require a lot of energy, and that's basically american foreign policy that's heavily influenced by the energy industries as we know. and there's a lot of people in texas who are very much involved with the saudis in cooperating with the taliban. the taliban apparently from what i understand were kneeing on their agreements or reluctant to agree the pipeline to be put through there and prior to 9/11
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there was an agreement to have them taken out. we had meetings and talks with other people familiar with the situation. there's many plans in the works to go in there. 9/11 just made it complete. women's rights, all of these issues that are important, but nay are not -- they are not the motivation. oil pipelines, gas pipelines, and controlling that access to that for the 21st century. that's at stake. >> i also want to comment on the issue of women's rights. it's sad to say if the americans were actually interested in afghanistan's women's rights, they would not have been supported radical fundamentalists in the 1980s who were basically the ones who were going over the border and basically destroying power lines in many schools and executing teachers who were teaching girls and things like that. this is a contradiction of the stated goal, and we're not saying that every single american official necessarily,
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you know, is aware of every single, you know, every single act that is committed by these people, but when you choose intentionally to enrich and empower a class of people that in many cases came out of the prisons of a lot of the other arabic countries, they actually became the data base of al-qaeda, so this is a real issue where it became a -- it became an excuse, but when we see the proof that women's rights are actually in worse shape now in afghanistan than before the soviet invasion. why? i think that i can also give you information to on how we focus on afghanistan originally. we get that -- many people ask that question, and it's like having to sort of ceo plain our entire lives. i'll be as brief as possible. >> do we have time? [laughter] >> i know, i know. as paul mentioned, we were working on a documentary about the arms race in the late
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1970s. the issue was of great interest and a lot of hope, certainly in the united states, we were going to be shifting from a military competition with the soviet union to a civilian competition which seemed to be a good direction to go in, and according to john, we needed to do that because we were still suffering from the economic ravages of the vietnam war, and we really needed to reinvest in the civilian economy. we, by having worked on the documentary, and the hope it remitted, we were shocked when the soviets crossed the border into afghanistan within 24 hours. within 24 hours, the narrative was out. they crossed the border, going for the oil in the persian gulf. this is war. every discussion about treaties was gone, vanished overnight. well, we noticed it. we were very suprised, and
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nobody seemed to be able to do anything about it. we kind of speculated. something happened inside the washington. nobody knew about it. we trailed it and trailed it. western media was kicked out of afghanistan within the first month of the invasion. we decided shortly thereafter let's get a visa to get in. we went to the united nations to the afghan consulate in the united nations and basically presented them with a plan saying pretty much, you know, the rumors floating out cannot be what you want, so let us go in and see, and they came back six months later with a visa and said, okay. we went to cbs news saying we got the visa. you got the qiement. you know, can we cut a deal? we went in for cbs news and quickly discovered coming back with that story from cbs news that they were really looking
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for a specific narrative, and we brought back something else. we were looking at this not as a superpower confrontation, but looking at afghanistan under the pressure of the superpower confrontation, and that began our whole process because when we observed that, we realized that this poor country was somehow squeezed and left out of the american narrative. did you have something to say? >> not at all. >> oh. >> hi, what about the documentary called afghan massacre by the irish brothers which show that in november of 2001, a month after 9/11, 8,000 taliban surrendered to the red cross with a guarantee if they surrendered, they would be processed and freed. instead, pakistanis went back to pakistan and it was described
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the command that they get sent back in secret, i don't know, whatever. they put 8,000 taliban under our jurisdiction, our military jurisdiction into con taper trucks and sent them to a prison, and they had room for 4,000, so they left 4,000 taliban in those containers and because they couldn't breathe and blood was coming out of the backs of the trucks, they had -- dashtun did it, anyway, they shot into the trucks so the people in the trucks could breathe because it wasn't enough room for them in the prison, but the blood poured out the back, and they left them in the trucks for days, and finally they buried them, some of them still alive under american military oversight. anyway, it's called afghan massacre.
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i forget the name of the two irish brothers who put together that documentary, but it's called "afghan massacre." >> well, the number of atrocities from the beginning and that's why it's absurd without addressing these things. >> the war crimes. >> the war crime against the afghan people were committed by everyone. i mean, there's nobody who is innocent in this situation other than the afghan people victimized by this. they fled when they could and suffered the indignities of the war when they couldn't. you know, the taliban victimized them in their territory, when they had the americans on their side victimized the taliban. this has been a bloody horrendous effort for 30 years, 35 years, and it's been going on really since 1973, this sort of thing, but the soviet invasion
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ag grated -- aggravated it further. >> i can certainly assume that the 8,000 taliban that ended up in that december prat situation were not important taliban because at the end of the u.s. war in afghanistan when it was obvious that the taliban were losing, there was something called the air lift of evil when basically the pack sanny military was allowed by the united states military to basically air lift out taliban and other assorted al-qaeda fighters out of afghanistan to a safe haven in afghanistan. it was called that by the american military who witnessed it. it's obvious that this is one of the problems when you use words like taliban, you know, it's kind of this uniformed word, and everybody assumes it means the same thing. it doesn't. there are obviously those who are part of the power structure with possibly working directly with the pakistani intelligence or in some way empowered, and then you probably have the
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average, you know, afghans or even, you know, other people from other countries or men from other countries who have no particular power at all, so, you know, there's a hire hierarchy within the structure that needs to be appreciated. >> how can we assume they are evil? >> the air lift of evil means they removed the fighters off the ground in afghanistan. >> america's allies were basically assisting the enemy in ease keeping from csh escaping from the battle and from being captured without explanation, and american soldiers were told to stand down and not interfere with pakistanis helping the taliban escape. >> they were buried alive. >> i know, i know. we're not talking about them. >> there are have been so many victims in this war from leftists to rightists to taliban to afghan individuals, the last
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marxist president in 1992 made an appeal to the united states and to the united nations to please intervene before the taliban came in because he said you are opening the door to an absolute tragedy that's going to happen in afghanistan and central asia. what happened was nobody listened. the taliban came in, dragged him and his brother from the u.n. compound, slit their throats, and hanged them from the lamp post, and that was the end of that, but the fact is that that had been going on all along. that's the kind of war this has been, so when you start this kind of thing, when you light the fuse to a keg of dynamite and explodes, it hurts everybody. >> i have a question. i was watching the news tonight before i came over, and the
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expert on this area, now deceased, charlie wilson was quoted tonight on the news again, and i want to know, i guess, he helped the afghan people. do you think charlie wilson helped the american people? >> well, he did not help the afghan people, number one. in fact, charlie wilson, representative wilson basically -- first a quick story how we know, for a fact that the soviets wanted to get out of afghanistan. in 1983, we brought robert fisher to afghanistan. he was approached before we approached him to do this trip by the soviets in, i think, in 1982, in the fall, that they were desperate to get out of afghanistan, help us get out. we approached roger with the idea of bringing him to afghanistan to figure out a way to get the soviets out. we get to afghanistan and they send their top -- moscow sends
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the top guy down to talk to roger and roger is shocked to tell us they want out quickly, and they are desperate. we bring the story back to nightline, and it was obvious that the mainstream media and washington beltway crowd was not interested in doing anything with this possibility. they didn't create what roger described as a golden bridge to help the soviets withdrawal and stay safe. they wanted to be able to leave and not look like it was a defeat basically. that's number one. well, charlie wilson starts to get his project going to increase funding after that point. the exact -- what needed to happen was the insurgency had to start with pakistan. what charlie wilson did is increase the insurgency. if that stopped, the president said on camera to us that the soviets would leave. these are all the, the -- this
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is part of the historical record. what charlie wilson was really doing was actually increasing the chances the soviets would stay there longer, and that was actually the goal of the whole idea to draw the soviets into afghanistan, hold them there as long as possible until they were broken, and charlie wilson died, i believe, believing that he was responsible for destroying the soviet union, but the fact is we have come to realize that the soviet union was internally discrimination grating and possibly afghanistan still would have been a flourishing nation today. >> i'm curious to know what you think about the role of india in the sense that we read that pakistan, of course, is very concerned and fright ped about india and that part of its efforts in afghanistan is to counter indian influence so how
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does that -- how does that factor in? >> the indian government has played a very big role in actually helping the afghan government that we are sporting in terms of civilian contributions to the government. >> i think they are the largest donor in the region. >> i think so too, largest donor to afghanistan in the region is india. they always had positive relations. the creation of pakistan itself was an issue needless to say for both countries. the duran line was an issue regarding pakistan. afghanistan never accepted the existence of the boundary. they were under the assumption that when the british left, that was going to be negotiated. there's many, many documents to prove that, and they assumed that that line would be something that would be negotiated when the british left, but also it was merely just a means of regulating who
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facilitated each side of the border and who took care of the authority of governing each side of the border. this is something that involved india from the very beginning, and the pakistanis feel they see any move by anyone, the iranians, the indians, by having an independent afghanistan as a threat to their exist ens. look back at the documents that we did for the first book, you can see that there are many, many instances where u.s. officials, whatever happened in afghanistan, pakistani officials would come to u.s. officials saying you have to give us more defense money because of what's going on in afghanistan. they were always raising the issue of the russians' involvement there or that the russians were stimulating rebel yons -- rebellion. that continues to this day. the fundamental issue and the problem could be defused if a serious effort was made to
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diffuse the relationship between pakistan and india. >> that's critical. >> that's critical to this. >> i would add one more point to the issue of pakistan and india. it is very ironic that you have the civilian helpings the money that's going to build a civil society from india. pakistan is basically focused on destroying any relationship that afghanistan has with india. i think pakistan would have more friends if it was trying to compete with india by helping to build civil society, and it's not doing that. >> i want to ask about the taliban. just about their background because i heard they initially came from other countries other than afghanistan, is that true? >> the original taliban was made up of refugees who had grown up
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in the camps, the refugee camps in afghanistan from pakistan. they were recruited by the isi intentionally. the bbc reported years ago their first instance showed up in northern pakistan, not even in afghanistan. the pakistani military used them as an agent for their own interest in afghanistan, so they were backing them. shortly after their invasion of afghanistan, the afghan people, came into afghanistan early on waving pictures of the king and claiming they were here to bring back the king, so the rebel groups and village militias put down their arms and essentially gave into the taliban. when the taliban were moving through pashtun areas, there wasn't that much of a problem with it. when they moved into other areas and parts of kabul, that's when the massacres began and when the
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taliban started to kill a lot of people indiscriminantly. as the war war on in the -- war wore on and the enthusiasm declined, more forces were supported by pakistani irregulars, people who resigned from the pakistani military intentionally, joined the taliban, put on black turbans and fought beside the taliban. in fact, there's lots of documents about the kind of armorments pushed into the affair. the pakistani originally supported and when they couldn't deliver a victory, that's when he lost favor with the pakistani isi and the taliban were backed at that point. there's an interview conducted with the president of pakistan about a year and a half ago in which he admitted on american television and said, oh, come on, let's admit it, he said, you know the cia and isi both created them. you know, we both have to accept responsibility for this. this is, you know, this is the
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kind of thing that, you know, no one's ever leveled with the american people -- excuse me -- from the very beginning about the relationship of all of these things, where they came from, how it started. the problem is at this point though that the afghan people and the pakistani people continually are being forced as now the people in the middle east are forced to choose between islamic extremists or military dictators. where's the indigenous democracy these people are craving for? this is -- this is becoming a real problem for everyone. >> time for one more question. [inaudible] >> informing this governing counsel, jerga? >> jerga. >> jerga you called it. >> uh-huh. >> how is it determined and who determines who gets a seat at a table, presumably even warlords are representing someone and have something to say even if
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they are potentially detrimental to the process, how do you discourage them from participating, and who says no? >> actually, the idea was that all afghans are welcome to participate, but you can't bring the power base. the warlord brings an intergnarl crime sipped cat power base -- syndicate power base, okay? that's an unequal playing field. you have to, you know, one person, one vote. that really is the idea, so it is not to exclude those who would be considered, you know, he is the world class terrorist who has been recognized as a druglord and killed thousands upon thousands upon thousands of afghans. in fact, they destroyed 75% of kabul in their war to figure out which one of them would take over in afghanistan killing thousands and thousands and thousands of afghans. this is the individual now that
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the united states has been attempting to negotiate into the government of afghanistan. that is not what the people of afghanistan want, but if there were a jerga to be held and he wanted to attend as an individual afghan, he could, and we understand how that is a very difficult thing because -- but this is what we're stating for the record. we'll need a lot of help from the people of the world in order to make this happen, and that's what we're hoping for, that the eyes of the world will be watching this process and will help restrain the obvious imbalance of power that has been given to war lords, the bush administration reempowering them again, given power in the 1980s in the first place when given billions of dollars to fight the soviets, which we just explaned to you was a process that could have ended as early as 1983. >> that's my concern that time
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and time again that warlords or rebels become the establishment and suddenly they are part of the status quo. >> what needs to be done is that the issue -- the issue needs to get down to the fact that this whole situation has to be disarmed instead of being rearmed and repoliticized. these things have been done. the peace process in ireland worked successfully. that's an issue that existed for 800 years, and the animosities are real and very present. these things are work the out in south africa for example and worked out in kosovo, maybe not to the ultimate conclusion, but there's mechanisms by which these things can be done. when it comes to pakistan and afghanistan, it remains in theater. it never changes but goes around the same issues again and again as again and the same people are
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put forward in order to represent the same sides of the issue, so if the united states and the western powers could get behind an indigenous afghan jerga that actually represented the will and the interests of the people not heard this this, the vast majority of the afterganny and pakistani people, then, perhaps there can be resolution and peace, otherwise we face a cataclysm situation in the world. all the up ingredients are there. in 9/11 and the reaction of the war in iraq afterwords, there's a strategic shock, and that could be more catastrophic than any previous ones. >> that's all we have time for tonight. i want to thank you all for coming, and thank you to our guests. [applause] >> that was elizabeth gould and paul fitzgerald on booktv. for more on the authors and their work, visit
7:59 pm >> now, holy tucker provide an account of the first blood trance fusions taking place in france in 1667 and the fallout from those experiments. >> let's get started very shortly. holly will get her computer plugged in, and i'll give an introduction. i want to welcome you to the first science cafe. we called it the medical museum cafe. we are thri t


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